Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens continues to narrow down the search for his head coaching replacement.
Brooklyn Nets assistant Ime Udoka is a name which was mentioned from the get-go, and he’s gained attention throughout. Now, it has been speculated the 43-year-old could be the frontrunner to land the Celtics’ job.
NBA reporter Jeff Goodman, who’s covered Stevens all the way back to Stevens’ Butler days, offered a report Monday. Goodman, during an appearance on NBC Sports Boston, noted two candidates who have “really emerged” for the job. Those candidates were Udoka and Los Angeles Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups.
That report further gained steam with speculation Tuesday. Admittedly, though, you’ll have to take the two sources of information with a grain of salt.
First up was Tony Massarotti, co-host of 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Felger & Mazz Show.” Massarotti, during the radio show Tuesday afternoon, spoke about Udoka and even called him “the guy that they (Celtics) want.” Massarotti is tied in with the Boston sports scene, of course, but he’s certainly not on the NBA insider level like ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski or The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
“I mean, look, from time to time I hear little rumblings around the league,” Massarotti said. “… So, from what I’m hearing he’s the guy that has moved to the front of the pack. He’s the guy that they want.”
The third piece of similar information came from Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson. Robinson tweeted Tuesday afternoon that Udoka is “believed to be a frontrunner” in the Celtics’ head coaching search “at the current moment.” Robinson, similar to Massarotti, is not on the level of Goodman, Wojnarowski or Charania.
Udoka has served as an assistant coach in the league for the past nine years. He spent the first seven seasons of his coaching tenure under San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. He then worked with the Philadelphia 76ers for one season and most recently the Nets, who were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Udoka, of note, also coached Celtics’ stars Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart in 2019 in the World Championships. Goodman noted those three players spoke highly of Udoka.